If you have ever been tasked with administrating or monitoring eForms and processes published by Autonomy Process Administration (formerly known as LiquidOffice), the default events leave a bit to be desired.
As part of the ECM industry, it is important to understand what compound documents are and how they affect you. Compound documents have been an issue in ECM software from the beginning of time. According to wiseGEEK, Compound documents are document files that contain several different types of data as well as text. A compound document may include graphics, spreadsheets, images, or any other non-text data. The additional data may be embedded into the document or be linked data that is resident within the application. You may be asking what that means for you? We all know that basic ECM is scan/store/retrieve, but what happens when you add electronic documents in PDF or MS Word?
Liquid Office has changed its name to Autonomy Process Automation (APA). The version number is at 7.1 and 7.2 is due out soon. It has a new feature than makes hooking a workflow process to an existing HTML form very easy to do.
I recently gave a presentation at our Nexus convention about eForms — and how they can produce real business value. Although the presentation was meant for those who have not spent much time analyzing the benefits of e-forms, some real industry heavyweights showed up. Unfortunately this was a lost opportunity because if I had more time I would’ve handed over the microphone for additional eForm paradigms and parables. Alas I had more material than time. Here’s a brief discussion of some of the topics I covered.
An eForm is of course an electronic representation of a paper form. In fact, many eForms look exactly like their paper counterpart. When a paper process goes electric, you’re not just leaving the paper behind. You are opening the door to processing times that are dramatically more expedient, and a host of other advantages.
Because of their inherent characteristics, eForms:
- save money
- When it can costs $20 to file a document and up to $314 per filing cabinet for the real state it consumes, you know storing paper isn’t cheap. And it can cost up to $220 to reproduce a lost document.
- are green
- Since the United States is the world’s largest producer and consumer paper, and for more than half of all organizations paper use is on the rise – the green choice is to reproduce paper processes electronically
- are malleable
- What if you just snail mailed one million requests for information and then discovered a fatal error in the text of your paper document. You can do the math here — it would be expensive to fix this, and slow. Online eForms can be changed in flash with very little effort or cost.
In the past I have blogged about exporting Autonomy Cardiff’s TeleForm forms into LiquidOffice using the File Exchange Format. And then populating those LiquidOffice forms with OCR’d metadata from TeleForm data using LiquidOffice’s virtual submit feature. So in this dance, TeleForm is the lead.
And a lead dancer’s job is to make the other dancer look good, right?
Time for a swap – let’s let LiquidOffice lead.
Here we’ll leverage the TeleForm LiquidOffice SOAP connect agent. Price: FREE with TeleForm. Using this method offers a helpful twist: you can attach data and documents to an active LiquidOffice process if you wish. That is not achievable with the virtual submission method.
Though described in the help files as a “complex subject”, there’s some scenarios that comply with the KISS approach (my favorite). Time to jump in but, warning, danger, disclaimer: this blog assumes you’ve spent some quality time with LiquidOffice and TeleForm.
If you are developing forms in LiquidOffice, chances are form owners have asked you to include drop lists to ensure data integrity in your backend database or repository. And just as likely they have asked for drop list value changes AFTER the form has been published. Or sometimes there is a business need to accommodate frequent drop list value changes. In many cases it is advantageous to allow users to make the drop list value changes themselves. One approach is to use a LiquidOffice drop list maintenance form, and restrict access to this form to the appropriate power users. Whenever the need for a change arises the maintenance form is available.
To get started, create a database to house the drop list values. Each field in the table will correspond to a drop list on your form. Populate these fields with the initial values the form owner has provided.
Next, create a connect agent to your database. In LiquidOffice Management Console, highlight the Connect Agent icon then select File/ Add. The wizard walks you through steps where you name the connect agent and the type (SQL DataBase Read/Write in my case). Select a JDBC driver and modify the JDBC URL to reflect your hostname and database name. Provide credentials, select ‘LookUp Only’, and you are done.
When designing your form’s drop list, go into the properties to select Control type: drop list and List source: dynamic (from database). You can then select the connect agent, table and column and you are set. If you want the display column to be different than the storage column, click Storage Column and select another column from the drop list. An example: Display = “Arizona”, Storage =”AZ”. Remember you must publish the form to confirm the drop list is correctly populated.
Now create another LiquidOffice form to perform maintenance on the drop-list table. Continue reading
While exploring different document separation techniques I discovered that bar code separation may cause the document to be split multiple times. I scanned in a single document that had 334 pages and for some reason it split the document multiple times. There were no other barcodes except one Patch Type T separator at the beginning of the document.